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By George Herbert

When God at first made man,

Having a glass of blessings standing by,

“Let us,” said he, “pour on him all we can.

Let the world’s riches, which dispersèd lie,

Contract into a span.”


So strength first made a way;

Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure.

When almost all was out, God made a stay,

Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,

Rest in the bottom lay.


“For if I should,” said he,

“Bestow this jewel also on my creature,

He would adore my gifts instead of me,

And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;

So both should losers be.


“Yet let him keep the rest,

But keep them with repining restlessness;

Let him be rich and weary, that at least,

If goodness lead him not, yet weariness

May toss him to my breast.”


  • Nature
  • Religion

Poet Bio

George Herbert
While George Herbert’s early adult life centered around the secular world of the university, his later dedication to Christianity and to poetry have had a lasting effect on literature. His mother was well acquainted with John Donne, with whose work Herbert’s is often associated. Herbert’s poetry, although often formally experimental, is always passionate, searching, and elegant.

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